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Tempestuous Elements Tickets
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Tempestuous Elements Tickets

Washington, DC
The riveting story of Anna Julia Cooper.

About Tempestuous Elements

Starting at Arena Stage during Black History Month, Kia Corthron’s Tempestuous Elements chronicles a chapter in the life of Anna Julia Cooper. The world-premiere play, directed by Psalmayene 24, will be part of the theatre company’s Power Play initiative. Don’t miss this searing new work — get Tempestuous Elements tickets on TodayTix.

Tempestuous Elements shines a light on Cooper’s tumultuous tenure as principal of Washington, D.C.’s historic M Street School. There, the famed educator fought to keep Black education alive, despite the prejudice, gossip, and sexism that threatened to consign her efforts to obscurity. Tempestuous Elements promises to be a play as memorable as the life of Anna Julia Cooper.

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February 2023
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Tempestuous Elements is about Anna Julie Cooper, a visionary writer, feminist, and educator born into slavery in North Carolina. She made an indelible mark on the late 19th and early 20th centuries via her voracious mind and persevering spirit, which still endures today. A century ago, she was only the fourth African American woman to earn a doctoral degree, shattering barriers in the face of racism and a society that did not empower women.

Known as “the Mother of Black Feminism,” Cooper made innumerable contributions to social science, particularly sociology. Her first book, “A Voice from the South: By a Black Woman of the South,” is widely acknowledged as one of the first articulations of Black feminism.

Her story is fitting for Arena Stage’s uplifting Power Plays cycle, which spotlights historical movements and figures that have shaped American culture. The theatre's artistic director, Molly Smith, says the play explores "A big chunk of hidden history…and hidden D.C. history." The show is a testament to one of the city’s most influential figures.

What to Watch For

  • Playwright Kia Corthron has won several awards, including the Windham Campbell Prize for Drama, the Horton Foote Prize, the Flora Roberts Award, the United States Artists Jane Addams Fellowship, the Otto Award for Political Theatre, the Simon Great Plains Playwright Award, and the Lee Reynolds Award.
  • D.C.-based artist Psalmayene 24 directs. The award-winning director’s Washington, D.C. credits include Passover at Studio Theatre, Native Son at Mosaic Theater Company, and Word Becomes Flesh at Theater Alliance.
  • Tempestuous Elements was commissioned by Arena Stage for its Power Plays initiative. This 10-year program aims to commission works by established and emerging playwrights about people and events that shaped the country’s narrative.

Start date

February 16th, 2024

End date

March 17th, 2024




Fichandler Stage at Arena Stage

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